How to create PDF without installing an application?

It is possible to create a PDF easily without installing any applications (potentially full of malware), whether on Windows 10, macOS or using the CUPS-PDF package on Linux. Rather useful for creating documents that display the same regardless of the operating system.

How to create a PSF for freeCreate PDFs in Windows 10

In Windows 10, Microsoft has integrated a virtual printer, Microsoft print to PDF. This feature has been around for a long time and avoids downloading third-party apps that are usually loaded with adware. So, to create a PDF by printing any type of source file, nothing could be easier:

  • From any application (Office, Paint, browsers, etc.) go to File> Print.
  • In the dialog box that appears, simply choose the printer Microsoft print to PDF.
Microsoft Windows 10 Print To PDF - dialog
Microsoft Windows 10 dialog box and printer Microsoft Print to PDF
  • A dialog box will appear for you to choose where to save the PDF.

And there you have it create PDF file. Retrieve it from the location chosen for recording. But what about Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users? In these versions of the Microsoft operating system, no native virtual printer… You will therefore have to go through third-party applications like PrimoPDF (including a virtual printer)… or websites like FreePDFconverter which allow you to create a PDF by converting a source file (Microsoft Office for example).

Create PDFs in macOS

In macOS, the option to create a PDF is fully integrated into the operating system.

  • Print via the system dialog box (cmd + P – under Chrome, you must then choose Print via system dialog)
The printing system dialog box printing under Mac OS X
The printing system dialog box printing under macOS
  • Go to the bottom left, and choose from the drop-down menu PDF> Save as PDF…

PDF osx drop-down menu

The OS X dialog box to save your PDF
The macOS dialog box to save your PDF
  • Choose a location and click To register

Create PDFs in Linux

In Linux, to create PDFs, you need to be sure that the CUPS-PDF package is installed. You can find out easily by installing it:

  • Open the terminal
  • Enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install cups-pdf

  • Enter your password (nothing is displayed, this is normal …), and press the key Entrance.

You should now have a new virtual printer, which should hopefully allow you to create PDFs via virtual printing like in Windows 10.

Note, in a variation of this tutorial, we also teach you how to transform any word or Excel .jpg file into a .pdf file. Do you like this trick ? You will probably also like our article on the best free apps to edit a PDF file.


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